The rolling, vine-covered hills of Italy’s Barolo region, midway between Turin and Genoa, are a suitably beautiful setting for such a renowned wine. Only 11 villages comprise the entire DOCG growing region, and the area’s relatively small size has enabled generations of winemakers to identify the best locations for growing the capricious Nebbiolo grape.
Although it borders the region of Barbaresco, the world’s other great producer of Nebbiolo, the wines of Barolo show a completely different expression of the grape. Barolo wines tend to have a little more structure, tannins and depth than their lighter, more fruit-driven counterparts. This is partly because they are given two years in barrels and a further year aging in the bottle (versus Barbaresco, which requires only a year in barrels), and partly due to the specifics of the area. With its warmer days and cooler nights, Barolo’s climate is slightly more continental, which tends to result in heartier, larger-framed wines.
It is from those choice vineyards that Batasiolo sources the grapes for its acclaimed Barolo, an iconic expression of the varietal. The wine profile encompasses typical Nebbiolo aromas of ripe raspberry, rose and roasted cherries, underpinned by flavours of white pepper and nutmeg — even a little leather — all bound together with refined tannins.
Although Barolo is recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious growing regions, its ascendancy as a world leader was not without setbacks. “There was a bit of a divide in the ’80s and ’90s between the traditionalist winemakers and the new wave producers,” says Igor Ryjenkov, MW, category manager of the European Wine Portfolio at LCBO.
While Barolo was once considered to require many years of cellaring before it could be appreciated, the new wave winemakers sought to make a softer, more approachable style. “The result,” says Ryjenkov, “was that after a couple of decades of debate and watching how both styles of the wine performed in the bottle, they arrived somewhere in the middle."
Batasiolo has the discipline of a traditional Barolo, but with a bit more of the depth and fresh fruit that was associated with the new wave producers — the best of both extremes.
This means that a wine like the Batasiolo Barolo is delicous paired with gamy dishes like rare roasted duck breast or sautéed wild mushrooms, and braised, stewed or smoked dishes that are cooked slowly for depth of flavour.